Week 13 Usage Rates: Is It Time to Bench Kyler Murray in Fantasy Football?

by Joshua Kellem · Matchups Start/Sit

Now they only say, “Congratulations.” If you’re reading this, you’ve made it to the fantasy football playoffs. I bet you “worked so hard, forgot how to vacation” or maybe the rest of your league “never had the dedication” and now “people hatin'” because “we changed; look, we made it. Yeah, we made it.” Now, let’s win the whole damn thing!

Entering Week 14, there are no teams on bye. All of our fantasy football assets are at our disposable. Knowing who to start – and not start – is imperative. Last week, we suggested to start Kirk Cousins and Jordan Reed. This week, it’s time to pivot away from Kyler Murray and Alvin Kamara.

We know that the biggest question you have every week is who to Flex, so we provide you a handful of players to target specifically for the week at the position. Stats don’t play favorites. For this week though, in a win or go home playoff matchup, we’re suggesting players to target and avoid. For more takes, watch our weekly Top 10 Takeaways show:

Let’s use PlayerProfiler’s advanced stats, metrics, and analytics to unearth trends for fantasy football. Below are key statistics to know while following along:

Route Participation  – How frequently a pass-catcher runs a route on his team’s pass plays.

Target Rate – Targets Per Routes Run. How frequently a pass-catcher commands a target in context with his Route Participation mark.

Weighted Opportunities – Determines which backs receive the most meaningful touches.

Try To Avoid

Kyler Murray

Kyler Murray is fantasy football’s QB1, averaging 26.5 Fantasy Points Per Game. He accounts for 0.58 Fantasy Points per Dropback, the third-highest mark among qualified quarterbacks. But what if we told you he hasn’t eclipsed 21 fantasy points in any of his past three games?


Check out Kyler Murray on PlayerProfiler’s New DYNASTY DELUXE Rankings:


For context, Murray failed to cross the 25-point threshold just twice in his first 10 games. What changed? He suffered an AC joint sprain Week 11 against the Seahawks. Whereas he added 60-plus rushing yards in eight of his first 10 games, the quarterback’s game-high over his past three is 31, including two games of just 15 rushing yards. So, the rushing floor is gone. While the 37.2 (No. 18) Team Pass Plays per Game is good volume, Murray has failed to hit 6.5 Yards per Attempt in each of his last three. In two of these games, he threw for less than 175 yards. In a win or go home fantasy playoff matchup, we suggest making other plans at quarterback – or temper expectations with Murray, which can work depending on roster construction. The reign as fantasy’s QB1 is over.

Action: The Giants allow the fifth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. Of late, they’ve held signal-callers to one or less passing touchdowns in each of their past four outings. The unit’s tallied two-plus sacks against quarterbacks in every game, too. Proceed with caution.

Alvin Kamara

In three games with Taysom Hill at quarterback, Alvin Kamara has commanded six targets – or two per game. He’s averaging 13 carries as well, totaling an average of 62 yards. He has managed two touchdowns in that span, but prior to last week, he posted back-to-back weekly finishes outside the top-24. It’s possible he scores again this week up against a Philadelphia defense that’s allowed five rushing touchdowns in their past four matchups. But it’s much easier to attack the Eagles through the air, with their rush defense being the 12th-best in DVOA. Without the receptions, Kamara is more of a low-end RB2 than fantasy football’s RB1. He’s created a league-leading 220.8 Weighted Opportunities thus far, but we aren’t sure how many more he’ll create moving forward.

Kareem Hunt

Since Nick Chubb‘s return in Week 10, he is a top-10 back in fantasy football, while Kareem Hunt sits outside the top 40 at the position. Whereas Hunt is fantasy football’s RB19 on the season, he’s posted one top-15 weekly finish in his past four outings. The problem isn’t touches. He has totaled at least 14 touches in all but one of the aforementioned games, he just isn’t getting high-value touches. As Ben Gretch notes, Chubb totaled three green zone touches last week to Hunt’s one for a consecutive week. That’s a 6:2 ratio in favor of Chubb for touches inside the 10-yard-line.

Hunt can dominate between the 20s as he pleases, but without consistent high-value touches, that’s not enough to start him in a win or go home playoff matchup. Making matters worse is Hunt’s date with the Baltimore Ravens and their fourth-best Rush DVOA.

Robert Woods

A bet on Robert Woods this week is a bet on double-digit targets, because a date with Stephon Gilmore is nothing that’ll get the group chat talking. Since returning to action in Week 11, Gilmore has held Brandin Cooks to two receptions for 32 yards, DeAndre Hopkins to four receptions for 42 yards, and Keenan Allen to three receptions for 31 yards. It’s safe to say he is locked in as the Patriots attempt to make a playoff run. Unfortunately for Woods, he’s in the way of Gilmore and the Patriots. Volume is king in fantasy football, and Woods should see aplenty, but that was the same argument for Allen last week (see above).

Hayden Hurst

Hayden Hurst has totaled just five receptions over his past three games. In Week 11, he was held catch-less in a game that Julio Jones left early. Then, he hauled in just one reception last week in a game where the Falcons offense had their bevy of pass-catchers. Simply, he isn’t trustable in a win or go home playoff matchup.

Hayden Hurst 2020 Game Logs

Hurst’s Snap Share has dipped over the past two games as well, which is concerning unless we missed an injury. All told though, Hurst hasn’t produced a top-10 weekly finish at his position since Week 9, while his miniscule 15.1-percent (No. 16) Target Share and 17.4-percent (No. 80) Target Rate aren’t drawing fantasy managers in either, although the Falcons average 41.5 (No. 6) Team Pass Plays per Game.

Action: The Chargers have allowed a touchdown to a tight end in each of their past five outings prior to last week, making Hurst literally touchdown or bust. Still, in two of those matchups, tight ends failed to eclipse 11.5 fantasy points. Of late, the Chargers have allowed 11.2 fantasy points or less to tight ends in each of their past three. Try your luck?

Try To Target

Teddy Bridgewater

Teddy Bridgewater will be without de facto No. 1 receiver D.J. Moore this week, but that won’t matter against a Broncos defense missing their top three corners. Before injury kept him out of Week 12, he posted consecutive top-10 weekly finishes. The Panthers average 36.1 (No. 20) Team Pass Plays Per Game, but Bridgewater averages 0.47 (No. 15) Fantasy Points per Dropback, highlighting his efficiency on low volume. Of late, he’s thrown for multiple passing touchdowns in three of his past five games. As of this writing, Christian McCaffrey has been limited in practice, potentially portending Carolina’s offensive gameplan to exploit Denver’s corners with the speed of Robby Anderson and Curtis Samuel.

Cam Akers

Cam Akers made headlines two weeks ago when he turned in an RB16 weekly finish with 84 yards on nine carries. Last week, he produced an encore, totaling a season-high 65.4-percent Snap Share, 22 touches for 94 yards, and a touchdown. That was good for 16.4 (No. 13) fantasy points.

This week, Akers squares off against the Patriots and their sixth-worst rush DVOA on a short week. The game’s implied point total is the fifth-lowest of the week, sitting at 45, while the Patriots are five-point road dogs. Adding more juice to Akers is the fact that the Rams offense possesses the best rush DVOA and averages 29.9 (No. 7) Team Run Plays per Game. Last but not least, he totaled seven green zone touches last week. For context, that tied for the most by a back in a game thus far this season.

Chad Hansen

When we suggested Isaiah Coulter last week, we meant Chad Hansen. Right process, wrong player. Hansen exploded onto the scene, totaling a 98.2-percent Snap Share. He commanded seven targets, which produced a 5-101 receiving line, with 111 Air Yards. His 15.1 (No. 29) fantasy points put him in Flex territory, and his 15.9 Average Target Distance mark puts him firmly in the Will Fuller role. Fortunately for his fantasy managers, he totaled a 100-percent Route Participation mark as well. Hansen draws the Bears this week, a defense that just got waxed by Marvin Jones and company.

James Washington

James Washington is the riskiest name on this list, but if our hunch is correct, fantasy managers that Flex him will be greatly rewarded. Since Week 11, his Snap Share has ascended, while Chase Claypool‘s has descended. Over those first two games, Claypool still commanded at least seven targets, but last week, he and Washington each drew four looks. But it was the latter that produced 16.0 (No. 21) fantasy points. Washington posted a 2-80 receiving line with 72 Air Yards.

James Washington 2020 Game Logs

Washington and company play in primetime against the Bills in a game with an implied total of 46.5 points. He has a chance to pop with Ben Roethlisberger totaling 58 (No. 4) Deep Ball Attempts and 3,415 (No. 9) Air Yards.

Action: The Bills allow the 11th-fewest PPR fantasy points to wide receivers, but they’ve allowed five touchdowns to receivers combined in their past four outings. Considering Washington’s profile, he’s the ultimate all-or-nothing Flex play. Furthermore, depending or roster construction, he may be the risky dart throw fantasy managers need to make.

Drew Sample

We’re once again recommending Drew Sample. In two games with Brandon Allen at quarterback, Sample has commanded 12 targets on 38 pass attempts. That’s a 31.5-percent Target Share. He has a juicy matchup on tap against Dallas’ 10th-worst pass DVOA. While there’s limited upside with Sample, he’s an intriguing floor play on a roster looking for 10 points from the tight end position. His semblance of a floor is backed by his 4.7 (No. 36) Average Target Distance mark. With the aforementioned Target Share percentage, that ain’t bad.

Action: The Cowboys allow the 14th-fewest PPR fantasy points to tight ends, but as stated above, Sample is a volume-based play.

To have lineup-specific questions answered,